Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lion in Winter

In his 75th year, Wole Soyinka reflects on what has been, for a writer, an unusually eventful life. Towards the end of the interview, Soyinka is asked the inevitable "advice" question: What advice does he have for the young and aspiring?

Soyinka answers:
That question comes up again and again, and I say that I don't really know. I think it's up to people to decide what they want to extract from what I've done, or left undone. But the advice I always give to my young children, or to young writers, or those who want to be activists in some way, who come to me and say, "What shall we do about this situation? How can we contribute?" I just say, "Follow your instincts." Don't feel you have to follow the paths of others, because you may not be temperamentally fitted for it. And so you'll just harm yourself and your cause and others. But just follow your instinct, and don't ever pretend to be what you're not.
Wise words.

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